How should you use Instagram For Business?
Instagram for business is a fantastic marketing tool as, according to stats, 80% of users follow a business or brand. With over 24 million Instagram users in the UK, it’s definitely not an opportunity that you want to miss! This is why it’s important to work on gaining a competitive advantage when using Instagram as a promotional platform. The great thing about Instagram is that is mainly all done from the mobile app. This allows you to be creative and connect with your community on the go.
One big question we are asked all the time: Is the business account free on Instagram? The answer is YES, unless you want to pay to play i.e Instagram Ads.
Instagram is a predominately free Social Media Platform that businesses can use to market their products and services. Instagram is owned by Facebook so links up perfectly with Facebook Pages and Facebook Ads to form a multichannel marketing plan. You can create a business account easily by changing your personal account into a business account. So let’s get stuck into these Instagram for business tips!
1. Business Profile on Instagram
Connect your Instagram Account to your Facebook Page to change from a Personal Profile to a Business Profile.
- Log into your Instagram App
- Click on the profile icon at the bottom right of the screen
- Click the three lines at the top right of the screen
- Click Settings
- Select ‘Switch to Business Profile’
- Connect your Instagram Business Account to your Facebook Page
As part of your Business Profile set up, it’s important to optimise your profile to its full advantage. Make sure your Profile Picture is the right size for Instagram and relevant to your business, this should be your company name or logo where possible. If there is a key figure in the company who leads the team or you are a solopreneur then a headshot for your Instagram profile picture is a nice touch. Include your contact details and confirm they are correct, plus complete your bio with a short overview of who you are, what you do and a relevant hashtag if there’s space.
Get Your Instagram Profile Right
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s take a minute to make sure your Instagram Profile is in check.
Have you converted your personal profile to a professional one? Do this by connecting to your Facebook Page (or creating a Facebook Page to edit later) in ‘Settings’. This will give you the additional features of adding a Business Category, Call To Action Button and Contact Information.
Next, make sure you’ve got a suitable Username and Handle for Instagram (preferably your business name) so that your customers and prospects can find you. If your desired username is taken then add a full stop or underscore in-between each word.
Be sure to have a relevant image in the correct Instagram size as your profile image. This should be your company logo if possible.
Finally, add your business website (or a relevant URL) and Bio with a short sentence of who you are and what you do. Include a hashtag if there’s space.
Instagram Business Profile Features Include
- Your Business Category
- Call-To-Action Buttons
- Contact Information: Include your business email address, phone number, or physical address. Instagram will create the correct call to action button (Call, Email, Get Directions).
So now you have an Instagram Business account, what next?
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Plan and Prepare
Once upon a time, the Instagram App was full of spontaneous, sometimes over-edited snaps. This was all well and good when being published on a personal profile as an extension of someone’s social media presence for a bit of fun. However, now it’s a business tool used for professional marketing, bloggers and influences, you need to up your game.
Have an Instagram Strategy
You may have had an Instagram business account for a while now and posted sporadically over weeks, months or years or you could be brand new to the Insta game. No matter what, it’s never too late to plot an Instagram Strategy. You likely already have a Business Marketing Strategy in place, where Social Media should definitely feature by the way, but this is taking it one step further and making your strategy Instagram specific.
Plan your content and Instagram Strategy in advance to be prepared and ensure a continuous stream of great content. Your Instagram Strategy will likely mirror your overall Social Media Strategy but be sure to tailor the content to suit the platform. Clickable links aren’t an option on Instagram like they are on other platforms and your image dimensions will also differ.
Think about what you’d like to achieve from Instagram for your business, whether it’s brand awareness, product promotion or a bit of everything, and how you believe you will achieve this. Think about your images, copy and hashtags. You want to represent your business in the best light but also be able to find a balance and be creative with your content. After all, we don’t want to just be another business page on Instagram.
There are Apps available now where you can plan out what your grid will look like without having to post to your account, just to make sure the filters/theme looks visually pleasing.
Don’t just think of great content being limited to the image you upload, it also extends to the copy that you write for your caption. Even if a picture does speak a thousand words, it’s worth adding some of your own in too… plus some hashtags and emojis!
When posting, think about current trends, topical updates and what your competitors are doing. You might only publish to your Instagram Grid or you could absolutely rule Stories and IGTV. Whatever you chose is right for you and your business, it’s important to keep your publishing frequent and very visual.
According to research on Instagram, video posts receive 38% more engagement than static posts. If you have the skillset in your business or the budget to outsource, then it’s worth investing some time and money in creating video content around your products, services and brand.
Speaking of video, Instagram TV (IGTV) is also proving to be a very popular feature amongst Instagrammers, Influencers and businesses. If you’re creating content for your businesses YouTube or other Social Media channels that will be suitable for Instagram too, upload to IGTV and increase your multi-platform reach and engagement.
This is also the same for Instagram Stories which now have over 500 million daily active users. Whether it’s a series of static images or short video clips, Stories are a great way to increase the chances of your businesses content being seen on Instagram. Once your page is a business account and your connection to your Facebook page is complete you can easily share the stories from Instagram directly to your Facebook story!
Tell A Story
Social Media users are here to ‘follow’ you which means they want to come on a digital journey with you and your business. Use your content to tell a story to your customers and bring them along for the ride. This could be seeing your products go from sketch to design to production and finally in stores or being used in real life. Perhaps publish a visual stage by stage case study of customers utilising your services and what they get from it. You could also ask one of your employees or customers to take over the account for the day so your business story is told from someone else’s perspective.
One big brand that is popular on Instagram and has an amazing is Innocent Smoothies. Their content is always topical, season and fun. They often feature ‘behind the scenes of the offices and staff which makes the content very relatable. If you’re ever in need of some #Inspo to boost your creative juices, then be sure to check them out.
As part of your Instagram for business Strategy, consider planning content in advance and using a scheduling tool to stay organised. This will give you more time day by day to focus on Stories and engaging with your customers.
Top Tip: Be real! Your customers want to see what is going on behind the scenes. Especially if your company is small, show them who they will be working with and how they are part of the local community and the online community too.
If you’re producing some really great content on your Instagram stories and want to keep these on your Instagram for more than 24 hours then add them to your ‘Highlights’. This can be done by posting, then viewing your story and clicking the ‘Highlight’ button at the bottom right of the screen. You can then choose whether to add a new highlight or save to an existing one.
Your highlight cover image is the first image you upload by default but once you’ve published the highlight you can click on to it, then the ‘More’ button at the bottom right of the screen, ‘Edit Highlight’ and ‘Edit Cover’. you can get creative with an app like Canva (www.canva.com) and create some great Instagram highlight covers. Most brands choose to have little thumbnails created for each highlight to outline what they’re about.
What hashtags will connect you with your existing (and potential) customers and audience? Use Hashtags to ensure your content gets in front of the right people and to maximise your potential reach. Use Instagram to search for Hashtags that you think work well with your business and content and see how many times they have been used. It’s worth making a note of the most popular ones to continuously use in your posts. To target a local audience use hashtags that are relevant to your area e.g #carlow #lovecarlow
If you’re putting together a Social Media Content Planner then add in a space for Hashtags for Instagram. This will remind you to post them with your Instagram (and Twitter) updates each time. When you are planning in the hashtags try to add some that are a little creative. You don’t just have to post #socialmedia themed ones I often use #cantgetuptoday. Creating and engaging with a community that has similar problems, passions and creativity can really expand your reach and networking.
Top Tip: Tailwind gives you suggested hashtags for your content
Instagram is arguably the most visual Social Media Platform, closely followed by Pinterest, which with grid posts, stories and Instagram TV. This means it’s important to get your content right, in the correct image sizes, to get maximum engagement. When creating your photos and videos for Instagram size really does matter!
Instagram Profile image: 180 x 180 Pixels
Instagram Grid Photo:
- 1080 x 1080 Pixels – Square
- 1080 x 607 Pixels – Landscape
- 1080 x 1350 Pixels – Portrait
- 600 x 600 Pixels – Square
- 600 x 315 Pixels – Landscape
- 600 x 750 Pixels – Portrait
Video Maximum File Size for Instagram: 4GB
Maximum Video Length for Instagram: 60 Seconds
Instagram Stories Video: 1080 x 1920 Pixels
Instagram Stories Video Maximum Length: 15 Seconds
Instagram TV: 1080 x 1920 Pixels
Instagram TV Minimum Video Length: 15 Seconds
Instagram TV Maximum Video Length: 10 Minutes
Get out there and get some creative action photos and videos that you can share on your Instagram business account!
Top Tip: Use the Canva app to create your images in one size then just click the resize button! Magic.
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You should see an increase in your reach and engagement when you’re actively engaging with others on Instagram. This means replying to any comments on your content by other users, joining relevant conversations on other accounts and following other profiles relevant to your business, industry, customers and even potentially your local area. It’s also worth following key hashtags so that you’re up to date with what’s going on. Create an action plan of when you can get on the app. 10 minutes at lunch! 1 hour in the evening! You can do that right? You probably spend your evening browsing through your Instagram Account anyway, right? What every you can actually do set a goal for time spend and genuine comments left on other users content.
You will notice many people and businesses are very active in stories. Spend some time on Instagram stories and reply to peoples stories with genuine comments. If your businesses username has been mentioned in a story you can then share that to your own story for your audience to see. While you are browsing through the stories you can share interesting stories with other users.
Learn and Adjust
It’s crucial with any Social Media Platform that you don’t just publish content and leave it. Keep an eye on your Instagram Insights and learn what content your followers are engaging with the most and the least. Use this to influence your strategy going forward. You may still see a decline in the engagement even if you’re posting content similar to a piece that’s done amazing before but remember this is Social Media and people change their mind, taste and habits often. Keep mixing up your content and trying new things.
If you ever get completely stuck for how to engage with your customers then simply ask them. Take action to engage your audience Run a Poll or Q&A on your Instagram Stories and ask them what they want to see or learn about you!
As part of your Instagram strategy, you should include objectives and how you’re going to meet them. This means you will also need to consider how you’re going to measure your success and adapt where needed. Keep an eye on your Instagram Insights which break down Activity, Audience and Content.
To access your Insights, go to your profile on Instagram and click the three lines in the top right of the screen. Here you’ll see options for Settings, Archive, Insights, Your Activity, Nametag, Saved Posts, Close Friends, Discover People and Open Facebook.
Use the Insights section to see your Reach and Impressions plus how they compare week on week. You will also be able to see which stories and uploaded posts received the best engagement which should be used to tailor your content going forward.